Federal funds can now be used to purchase rapid fentanyl test strips
In an effort to reduce overdose deaths, the CDC and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration announced that federal funds can now be used to buy rapid fentanyl test strips.
“This is a major step forward in the ongoing and critical work to prevent overdose and connect people who have substance use disorders to evidence-based treatment options,” Tom Coderre, the interim leader at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA), said in a press release. “This will save lives by providing tools to identify the growing presence of fentanyl in the nation’s illicit drug supply.”
CDC and SAMSHA made the announcement about a week after a White House official said a record-high number of Americans — 88,000 — died from drug overdoses during a 12-month period.
According to the press release, organizations previously awarded funding through the CDC’s Overdose Data to Action cooperative agreement program can use funds to purchase the test strips. SAMSHA grants can be used to buy the strips so long as doing so aligns with “the purpose of the grant,” a CDC spokesperson told Healio Primary Care.
The strips can be “directly provided to people who use drugs,” the spokesperson continued. The results can determine whether drugs have been cut or blended with fentanyl, providing those who use the drugs and the communities “with important information about fentanyl in the illicit drug supply so they can take steps to reduce their risk of overdose,” according to the release.
“We must do all we can to save lives from drug overdoses,” CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPH, said in the press release. “The increase in drug overdose deaths related to synthetic opioids such as illicitly made fentanyl is a public health crisis that requires immediate action and novel strategies.”